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U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2010-1174

Carbon Dioxide Dangers Demonstration Model

By Dina Venezky and Stephen Wessells


Thumbnail of Dina in her lab

Carbon dioxide is a dangerous volcanic gas. When carbon dioxide seeps from the ground, it normally mixes with the air and dissipates rapidly. However, because carbon dioxide gas is heavier than air, it can collect in snowbanks, depressions, and poorly ventilated enclosures posing a potential danger to people and other living things. In this experiment we show how carbon dioxide gas displaces oxygen as it collects in low-lying areas. When carbon dioxide, created by mixing vinegar and baking soda, is added to a bowl with candles of different heights, the flames are extinguished as if by magic.

(click on the title page to start the video)

  • Sound only with alternative text added, for the visually impaired (MP3, 3 MB)
  • Transcript, for the hearing impaired (html, 56 kB)
  • This report is available only on the Web.

For additional information:
Contact LVO
Volcano Science Center, Long Valley Observatory
U.S. Geological Survey
345 Middlefield Road, MS 910
Menlo Park, CA 94025

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Suggested citation:

Venezky Dina, and Wessells, Stephen, 2010, Carbon dioxide dangers demonstration model: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2010-1174 (video).

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